The end of the year will come and go before you you know it and we will all find ourselves in the year 2014! Is your business plan ready for the new year?
Below are 10 tips to prep for 2014 from Brisbane small business adviser Heather Smith:
- If the holiday period is quite for your business, take advantage of it and shut your business down for a few weeks; let customers know in advance and encourage staff to take the time off too. Switching off entirely can help you recharge and re-energise batteries in preparation for 2014.
- Go over business expenses; are there opportunities to minimise expenses, by combining bills, such as insurance, or renegotiating the expense, or eliminating the expense altogether. Something once seen as essential may no longer provide real benefit to the business, and the money can be better spent elsewhere.
- Review and update your budget forecast, through to 30 June 2014, with the current knowledge you have about the market.
- Brainstorm opportunities that can be exploited in the New Year.
Identify dated marketing material and documentation that needs to be updated for 2014 e.g. ©2013 on the bottom of your website.
Give the office a really good spring clean. Identify if obsolete technology and equipment can it be disposed of, donated to charity or sold. Can the old business server be sold on eBay to pay for the Christmas party?
- Go Paperless! Establish if old paperwork can be shredded, or sent to service like ShoeBoxed <shoeboxed.com.au> to be scanned using optical character recognition technology and stored in the cloud, or downloaded and stored on your own technology. Moving to a paperless office, frees up storage space, saves money on stationary, and helps the environment!
- Check off-site back-up systems are in place, and is accessible if necessary. If back-up systems are time consuming or inadequate (like they are in many small businesses) look at a online back-up solutions like Carbonite. They back up data into the clouds in real time. If your building burns down, and all computers are destroyed, with a password you can still access your data, which can mean the difference between staying in business, and closing up.
- Review and curate your client list, and take the opportunity of the upcoming festive period to reconnect, by sending an informative and useful festive greeting. Remind clients what the business has to offer, and include a call to action, like a discount voucher they can use in 2014.
- Re-evaluate your existing accounting processes. Are they cumbersome, consuming considerable amounts of administrative time? Have you updated your systems to the latest online accounting solutions that include bank feeds and automated processes? Small Businesses who are moving to Xero and adopting ‘bolt on’ add on solutions that suit their work flows are reported saving in excess of 10 administrative hours a month.
Even if you don’t have any down time during the holidays, taking the time to wrap up the previous year and create a strong game plan for the beginning of next year will pay off. Simplifying the problematic areas of your business and making them more solid will ensure more success year after year.
Do you have a top 10 list of actions that you end your year on to prepare you for the fast approaching new year?